Aerospace Industry: Using Stock & Custom Aluminum Extrusions

Aluminum and the Aerospace IndustryMost people are not aware of the link between the advancement and production of aluminum alloys for industry and the advancement of the aerospace industry, including aircraft and rocket technology. Aluminum was used in the engine for the first biplane designed by Orville & Wilbur Wright, and it is still used today to create commercial airline jets, personal planes, military applications and even NASA spacecraft. The aerospace industry has a long history with aluminum and it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.

Aluminum Recycling Efforts
In fact, the very first American effort to begin recycling aluminum came during World War II, as our nation came together to support our troops. A radio program called, “Aluminum for Defense” came out of WOR-NYC in 1942, encouraging patriots to contribute all of their scrap aluminum to the government for the war effort. Today, after years of encouragement regarding recycling, including monetary incentives, aluminum is the number one most recycled metal on the planet. This helps to keep is very cost-effective and earth-friendly, especially compared to other widely used metals, such as iron and steel.

Throughout the aerospace industry, aluminum is used frequently, including custom aluminum products that are designed to benefit from the advantages of using aluminum. Custom extrusion design and standard aluminum extrusions, are used for everything from seat tracks in commercial airliners to the primary structures of the Orion spacecraft, the latest feat of engineering to come out of NASA.

In addition to being recycled more frequently than any other metal, aluminum also has an advantage over other recycled metals in that it is 100 percent recyclable. While it is often paired with aluminum alloys for the manufacture of custom aluminum products, aluminum can be recycled over and over again, without losing any of its inherent properties. Valuable properties, such as a natural anti-corrosive layer that is self-healing, the ability to be molded and shaped into just about any design, and it’s amazingly low weight-to-strength ratio, which makes it perfect for automotive, transportation and aerospace industries across the board.

A Nod to Jules Verne
If you are familiar with the works of Jules Verne, writer of the popular Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1872), you might be surprised to learn of his part in the use of aluminum in the aerospace industry as well. In his science fiction novel, From the Earth to the Moon, Verne included a detailed description of the design for an aluminum capsule to make the trip to the moon.

When the book was written, aluminum was extremely rare. It was also very expensive, due to costs associated with extracting and producing aluminum. About 20 years after this book was published, a more modern low-cost process was introduced. Today, aluminum is one of the most common metals used in the modern world, used to make everything from beverage cans to automobiles and everything in between.

How Much Aluminum is Used?
On average, the frame of a typical commercial transportation aircraft is made up of 80 percent aluminum. When it comes to constructing the wings, supporting structures, fuselage and other essential parts for commercial airliners, military transport and cargo aircraft, and other essential planes, more manufacturers will overwhelmingly choose aluminum alloys for the job. Some parts are made from custom extrusion design and standard aluminum extrusions, while other parts are made using different methods of forging and machining. However, all are designed to cater to the advantages of using aluminum.

Custom aluminum products can be designed to reduce manufacturing costs, increase lead times, create complex shapes, and provide flexibility for more intricate designs, using aluminum extrusion. Companies like Silver City Aluminum, which focus solely on creating standard and custom extrusion design, have been helping to advance the technologies used in the commercial airline industries for decades. Many also work with the United States military branches to create a wide range of aircraft, transportation vehicles and much more. America truly depends on the advantages of using aluminum in many different ways and across many different industries and applications.

Silver City Aluminum in Taunton, MA
For more information on designing your own custom aluminum products for the aerospace industry or any other industry, contact Silver City Aluminum by calling 508-542-7200. Located in Southeastern Massachusetts, we provide our top quality custom extrusion design and standard aluminum extrusions to clients all across North American and around the globe. Give us a call or use our online contact form to start placing your order right away.